A Service of Saddleback College and
California State University, Northridge

Balto at The Troubadour

Photos and Interview by Abigail Albo

After over a year and a half of work, Southern California-based band Balto is revving up to show off their newest creation. Bassist Adam Ditt shares his praises on the upcoming record.

 “It’s gonna be good. I’ll tell you one thing, and I’m speaking whole honest truth, there’s no radio hits on this album. It feels like a Picasso piece. It’s like a map - it takes you through Dan’s brain - sees the world through his eyes, sees his experiences in LA. The music that goes behind it is cinematic. So, the new album is just gonna blow some minds.”

Dan Sheron and Adam Ditt

The last time we got the chance to watch Balto was this past August on the campus of Saddleback College. Luckily, we were able to catch up with the group this past Friday at one of LA’s beloved venues, The Troubadour, as they opened for Canadian Blues artist Colin James.

Balto’s upcoming record was worked in part with influential producer and music director Kim Bullard (Elton John, Santana, Crosby, Stills, & Nash) and Jean Michel LaPointe, at Bullard’s home studio. Along with their collaboration, the band explores unique techniques such as backwards tape loops, as well as experimentation with a plethora of instruments like the tabla and harmonium.

Dan Sheron

Vocalist and guitarist Dan Sheron (above) then discloses a familial tie he has with the forthcoming album. 

“My grandpa sings on the record. It’s an old recording that I ripped from a 1940s '78; it’s an 80-year-old recording of him singing. So, we mixed that in and it sits in a transitional point in the record. I’m excited to let people hear it.”

Looking toward the future, Balto reflects on possible future collaborations. They float artists such as Dr. Dog’s Scott McMicken and Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

Tristan Lake Leabu

Guitarist Tristan Lake Leabu (above), adds

 “…it would be an amazing experience to work with Wilco at their studio at The Loft. I feel like we would get a lot out of that.”

Meanwhile, drummer Sheldon Reed (below) emphasizes, “I just wanna make beautiful music with beautiful people.”

Sheldon Reed

Balto originally started as Dan Sheron’s solo project and has grown over the past decade through many phases. 

“It’s one of those things where the train just left the station, kept rolling and here we are and it’s a pretty different thing now. It feels different, the songs are different, the people making it are different, it’s a much more collective effort. I think that’s a fundamental difference with how it was before, in that it’s really a thing that we’re doing together,” says Sheron.

Adam Ditt and Dan Sheron

The current arrangement of the band has been playing together for the past two years.

 Balto 1

Reed states that, “This configuration definitely has more grit, more fire. We’re really pouring our hearts out into these songs. I love this configuration we are in.”

Adam Ditt

A final anecdote Ditt (above) shares, “We used to get billed as a folk band. And when we did our European tour and we showed up with half stacks, people were freaking out.”

Balto at The Troubadour

In order to fully experience the transitions Balto has been through, be sure to dive into their discography in preparation for their upcoming record. In the meantime, the band continues on through their West Coast tour with Colin James!